The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion on Feb. 15 by Supervisor Janice Hahn, 4th District, to ensure the county’s pandemic response and recovery strategy prioritizes the needs of its immunocompromised and disabled residents.
“This virus doesn’t affect all people equally, which means the way we handle our response to and recovery from it shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach,” Hahn said. “From providing vaccinations and rapid tests at home for residents with disabilities to making sure the PPE we’re giving out is appropriate for those with visual impairments, when it comes to ensuring all our residents have what they need to feel protected as we recover from this pandemic, L.A. County should lead the way and set the bar high.”
The motion instructs the county departments of public health and health services to expand access to a variety of services needed by immunocompromised and disabled residents, including in-home vaccinations, at-home rapid and PCR tests, appropriate personal protective equipment (such as face coverings with clear see-through windows) and COVID-19 educational materials that accommodate people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired. It also directs the Commission on Disabilities to work with the Department of Aging and Community Services on the feasibility of creating a task force to review the county’s COVID-19 response and recovery plans, and provide recommendations on how the county can better meet the needs of immunocompromised residents and residents with disabilities.
“As we move forward towards a diverse and inclusive environment, the disability community will have a voice,” said Carlos Benavides, president of the Los Angeles County Commission on Disabilities. “This noble gesture elevates the concept and idea of total inclusivity regardless of one’s functional capabilities and limitations.”
Hahn said people with disabilities and chronic illnesses have disproportionately higher rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. The CDC reports that 90% of COVID-19 hospitalizations occur in people with underlying conditions, she added.
For information, visit bos.lacounty.gov.